About this Show

U.S. House of Representatives

News News/Business. Live coverage of House proceedings. New. (Stereo)

NETWORK

DURATION
01:01:00

RATING

SCANNED IN
Richmond, CA, USA

SOURCE
Comcast Cable

TUNER
Channel v15

VIDEO CODEC
mpeg2video

AUDIO CODEC
ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
704

PIXEL HEIGHT
480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Florida 18, Us 5, Illinois 5, Mr. Zimmerman 4, Ms. Mcbath 4, America 4, Trayvon Martin 3, Texas 3, Alec 3, Ms. Mcba 2, Sullivan 2, Zimmerman 2, Mr. Dunn 2, Naacp 2, Mr. Labahn 2, Jordan 2, Durbin 2, Allen 2, Ms. Fulton 2, Labahn 2,
Borrow a DVD
of this show
  CSPAN    U.S. House of Representatives    News  News/Business. Live coverage  
   of House proceedings. New. (Stereo)  

    October 29, 2013
    11:00 - 12:01pm EDT  

11:00am
collected 112 cases. thatnformation they had often constitutes their shocking findings is that 72% of those who killed a black person face no penalties compared to 59% of those who killed a white person. 80% of those who kill the specter also not convicted. one means to remember that the vast majority of these crimes are within race. who were killed in stand your ground cases were killed by other blacks. in the case of whites, it was 85%. hispanics, and hundred percent. the basic point is if you are going to concentrate on the fact that relatively few people who kill blacks are going to be convicted using stand your ground defenses, you have to realize almost all those people not being convicted our blacks. 69% of blacks who raise the
11:01am
stand your ground defense were not convicted. that compares to 62% for whites. 80% of hispanics who raise the defense are not convicted. if blacks are being discriminated against because their killers are not facing any penalty, would it not also follow that blacks are being discriminated in favor of blacks who claim soft defense understand your ground law are convicted at much lower rates than other racial groups? is not all also these cases are the same. blacks are killed in confrontations where -- were 13 percentage points more likely to be armed than whites. blacks,lled by other the were more often in process of committing other crimes. they were involved in cases
11:02am
where was likely to have a witness. if you run regressions where you try to call all the factors that were brought up in the data set, you find that white defendants are more likely to be convicted by black defendants, and people invoking stand your ground laws who kill blacks are also more likely to be convicted than those who killed whites. what you find when you look at it, the people who initiate confrontation were more likely to be convicted, and when there were eyewitnesses, they were less likely to be convicted. armed individuals were more likely to result in convictions. the urban institute report that is brought up earlier or think shows the opposite of what has been quoted here. mention,tant thing to the person who wrote this noted stand your ground laws appears -- he said it appears to
11:03am
exacerbate racial differences, but he acknowledges his a lacks details available in the data. "the data cannot address a problem because the setting of the instance cannot be observed. is he had noind information on whether an eyewitness saw the confrontation, no data on whether there was a physical evidence. on a wholeo evidence range of things to try to factor those into account. the big thing if you look at his study, the central finding is to look at table three, and what you find is that when the blacks your groundand laws, the conviction rates fall. if you look at a study that was mentioned, they do not account for any gun control laws. if you look at stand your ground
11:04am
loss, right to carry, the number permits people have will be important, and when you account for these results is a pair. whether people are able to get axis will be important. nothing about gun laws or state laws, and when you do that the results disappear. isthank you. the witness lucia mcbath. she's the mother of jordan russell davis who was killed at a gas station in jacksonville, florida. become her father have -- she and his father have been them advocates. she is the national spokesperson for a organization called moms demand action. she provides assistance for graduating high school students. mcbath is a graduate of
11:05am
virginia state university. i would like to thank all members of the panel for the patients in rescheduling this hearing. i am glad we had those moments together. proceed with her testimony. >> thank you. good morning, chairman durbin, and numbers of the subcommittee. i thank you for the opportunity to speak before this great institution today. i was raised in a family steeped in justice and confident in the triumphant goodness of humanity. my mother was a registered nurse, and my father, who served in the u.s. army dental corps, was also, for over 20 years, resident of the naacp for the state of illinois. he worked actively with president lyndon baines johnson in the signing of the civil rights act of 1964. if he could see me here today,
11:06am
testifying in front of the united states senate, he would be the naming -- beaming with far hismazed with how daughter had come, until he came to understand what brought me here. myppear before you because son jordan was shot and killed last november while sitting in the backseat of a friend's car, listening to loud music. the man who killed him opened teenagers,r unarmed even as they tried to move out of harm's way. that man was empowered by the stand your ground statute. i'm here to tell you there was no ground to stand. there were snow threat -- there was no threat. no one was trying to invade his home, his vehicle, or threaten
11:07am
him or his family. there was a vociferous argument about music during which the dunn, didmichael not feel he was treated with respect. you are not going to talk to me like that am i he shouted, as he sprayed the car that jordan sat in with bullets, killing him instantly. when jordan's friends tried to back the car away, mr. dunn and his handgun and fired off several more rounds, nine total piercing the car. there are any number of ways that this interaction might have gone, but there was only one way it could have ended once a gun entered the equation. in florida, over one million
11:08am
people carry concealed weapons. additionally, 15,000 more fli oridians are approved to carry guns in a month, faster than any state in the nation. nationally for that has some of permittingt requirements. the boxes are becoming modern- day done boxes. dunns glove box, michael kept a semi automatic time along with two loaded magazines. once he had unloaded his gun at his teenage friends, he immediately went back to his hotel, ordered a pizza, and slept. he left the scene and made to attempt to call police. he retreated, but only after he killed my son. the next morning, he was
11:09am
arrested two hours away. those are hardly the actions and motives of someone who was quaking with fear. some will tell you that the argument was about using -- about music, but i believe it was about the availability of guns and eagerness to hate. feele like mr. dunn empowered to use their gun instead of their voice to reason with others. now i face a very real possibility that my son's killer will walk free, hiding behind a statute that lets people claim a threat where there was none. declares open season on anyone that we do not trust for reasons that we do not even have to understand. they do not even have to be true.
11:10am
in essence, it allows any armed citizens to self-advertise themselves and establish their own definition of law and order and lets one and all to find their own criteria for right and wrong and how justice will be carried out. even the wild west had more stringent laws governing the taking of life than we have now. defies allground reason. it goes against the sound system of justice as established long ago on this very hill. my son was named for the jordan river. in the bible, that river symbolized the crossing to freedom. its waters marked the final steps the liberation and mark the holy stream that baptized jesus. name seems a fitting
11:11am
choice for a boy born at the end of the 20th century, a time when black people in this country had finally come into their own. a change inamed for the tide, a decision to try harder and do better. he was my only child. andas raised with love learning and a clear understanding of right and wrong. i have been without jordan now since thanksgiving weekend, 2012. without him last christmas and on his birthday in february. i never got to take his picture or see him graduate from high school. i can tell you all about him, about his easy smile, his first girlfriend, and his plans to
11:12am
join the marines. i can't tell you how he loved his dad's gumbo and how they both rooted for the new york giants. but you can never really know my man whouse an angry owned a gun kept it close at hand and chose to demonstrate unbridled hatred one all me evening for reasons i will ever understand. these laws empowered his prejudiced lease and subsequent ife, hisr my son's own l liberty, and his own pursuit of happiness. there will be made no sense made of any of this unless i and the families of other victims speak out that this kind of violence ends. it was 50 years ago that my father shook hands with eleanor roosevelt. she assured him of the validity of his struggle and the promise
11:13am
of better times. she, as he did, believed that this nation was righteous to the core, that we as a country would never stop striving to do made usand that is what r.tter, men and women of the senate, you can prove them right there and your help and willingness to bring the laws back to the truth tenets of justice. you can lift this nation from an internal battle in which guns rule over right. you have the power to restore hope to a nation crying out for justice. and i pray that you hear the will of the lord. thank you. th.thank you, ms. mcba
11:14am
we went out to the questions for the witness, and each member will have seven minutes. i will start. th, thankn and ms. mcba you for coming here today and your kurds. your courage. i find it hard to understand those who defend stand your ground by arguing that african- americans should celebrate these laws. the notion that somehow this is to the benefit of african- americans or minorities in this country justifies the stories we have been told by both of you -- innocent children killed in the name of self-defense, when in neither instance was there evidence of aggressive or violent conduct by these victims, these young men who were shot down. professor sullivan, you have heard these arguments made to
11:15am
members here about this notion that somehow african-americans should view this as a positive thing on stand your ground. what would you respond? >> i would agree with your statement, senator or rep. it is not a positive thing where citizens are running around shooting each other whether the perpetrator is african-american, the victim is african-american. it does not matter. we do not live in the wild west era any longer. private law enforcement has a deleterious effect on our country, and we should leave it to train the police officials to engage in this sort of behavior. labahn, i read over your testimony, and i was moved by one section i would like to repeat. you stated, by expanding the realm in which violent acts can be committed without the justification of self-defense
11:16am
cannot stand your ground loss have negatively effected public health and undermined rustic tutorial and law enforcement officers to keep communities safe. you then go on and talk about a specific case in february of 2008 which you mention in your testimony, a 29-year-old rug killed two inmith separate instances. was engaged in unlawful activity in both instances, selling drugs during the first shooting, using an illegal gun in the second, prosecutors had to conclude that both homicides were justified under the florida stand your ground law. unfortunately, you go on to say this example is not an anomaly. a recent study concluded the majority of defendants shielded by these laws had arrest records prior to the homicide at issue. if we had called as a witness a
11:17am
person representing the national association of criminal defense attorneys, we could see where they are growing, but in your case you represent the profession of those who prosecute criminals, and you were saying stand your ground loss are not working to the benefit in the defense of america. tell me why you come to that conclusion. havenator, i think you given that example, and i give an additional example, and i will start with your question about the national association of criminal defense lawyers. we work closely with the defense bar and this is one of the areas that two of our groups where we diverge. this is good for the defense. when i testified down in florida, there was a lawyer that was on the scott commission. is good for the defendants. >> you're saying the criminal defense lawyers were arguing that stand your ground lawyers were good for criminal offense. >> that the role of the criminal
11:18am
defense attorney is to get their time off. i would have of the criminal defendants and defense lawyers, this is a good law. look at the ambiguities that are here. at the specific examples. you talked about here is a drug user in an open air market. at the time of the killing he was not selling. he had been selling and have been doing unlawful activity, but he was just in a legal place he had a right to be, so he had a right to defend itself. somewhat isiece is a convicted felon, they have no rights to possess a firearm, yet they can stand your ground and use florida decisions to use that firearm and the free and not be held accountable. the stories are unbelievable. january, two thousand 12, another florida case.
11:19am
-- victim was stealing-- the victim of the shooting was doing something wrong, but in this situation someone sees their car being are price. they yell out them, get out my car, and in this situation chased them down and knifed them to death. then never reported, never called 911, never said anything about it, and when confronted that i was defending my property. 2007, theis ample, case disseminated out to the country. a gentleman looks and sees his neighbor's house being worked arise, calls 911, 911 urges them to stay in your house, we will take care of it. instead, he goes ahead and shoot both of those two and i believe they were juveniles dead and that exercises stand your
11:20am
ground, and that went in front of the harris county grand jury. the harris county grand jury found that to be stand your ground. the movement here to create these presumptions and to give immunity -- immunity is crazy -- that is not what it should be, it should be an affirmative defense, and on behalf of prosecutors, these acts have been done nothing but produce difficulty. >> it appears this is an invitation for confrontation, that historically, professor sullivan raises the point, if you could safely retreat to my that was your duty, except in your home. the castle doctrine made a clear decision when it came to your home him in that circumstance. the new law, single ground loss, are an invitation to confrontation, and production of reasonableness and civil and criminal immunity. now i understand that the state of florida is debating about changing these laws. could either of you testify
11:21am
about how they would change their law and what they are raising is a reason for a change? >> i think they are raising as a reason for a change the fact that the law reduces absurd results during one of the things they are thinking about changing is clearly establishing this principle of first aggressor and whether first aggressors can avail themselves of the law. duty to retreat, if i can, senator, is important because i have heard comments today that are plainly wrong with respect to what historically duty to retreat met. you said safely retreat. it does not mean stand there and be brutalized because of some law. if it is unsafe to retreat, nowhere in our history is an individual record to retreat. rather, only if it is safe to retreat. this is just a normal good judgment.
11:22am
the exercise of good judgment, a norm that prevents the sort of vigilante-ism that we see in these many cases that were cited. finally, i think florida, to answer your question, should ,weak the immunity provision because my point is that immunity, along with the change in presumption am a additions a certain response in people. that is, people who know this law behave in a way much more aggressive, frontiersman like way, that they would not but for the broad expanse of protections of these laws. quite different from historical self-defense laws, and even quite different from the stand your ground iterations historically. effortsked the extreme in the ways that these laws were written. >> thank you. your questionto
11:23am
about florida, the others never get the that ford is doing that has asked out of the committee is the immunity provisions. they're working on that, and there was a civil portion but to say if someone sprays and kills a number of people in standard ground that they should not be civilly immune you, especially hitting an innocent bystander. it is significant that i testified in front of that commission and they are now moving on that law. person, a prosecutor out of florida, was unable to attend today, and his closing comments are so very important. it was, should we not have duty deal honorably with another? the bottom line is this is an unnecessary law where the worst criminals can get away with the most heinous crimes. >> senator cruz?
11:24am
but mr. chairman. at the beginning would like to enter into the record a statement from the senior senator from texas, senator corbin. i would like to thank each of the members of the panel for being here. in particular, ms. fulton and ms. mcbath. thank you for being here. thank you for sharing your stories. understands the mo urning you are feeling. it is always a tragedy when a child loses his life. and please know that we are all feeling your loss and express our very sincerest condolences. of the discussion this afternoon has concerned the tragic circumstances of the trayvon martin case.
11:25am
and none of us in this hearing room were there that night. none of us knows precisely what happened. we do know that there was a violent altercation between and hispanic man and and african- american teenager, and we know at the end of that confrontation the teenager was dead. what exactly occurred that night no one in this room likely will know for sure, but we do know some things. we know that our system of justice has a process for ascertaining what happens when there is a violent confrontation, particularly one that leads to a loss of life. and that process is a jury trial. zimmerman'sf mr.
11:26am
peers heard the evidence in a case. he was prosecuted in that case, and the jury rendered a conclusion. we do not know if the jury was right or wrong, but we do know that the jury system is the only system that our judicial system has for ascertaining what happened, particularly when you have a one on one confrontation. it can be particularly difficult to determine what the facts are. we also note that the subject of this hearing, a stand your ground laws, was not a defense that mr. zimmerman raised. so this entire hearing, the topic of this hearing, is not the issue on which that trial turned. some iny, we know that
11:27am
our political process have a desire to exploit that tragic, violent incident for agendas that have nothing to do with that young man who lost his life. tohave seen efforts undermine the verdict of the broadly, tore inflame racial tensions that i think are sad and irresponsible. familynize that for the you are simply the mourning the loss of your son, and i understand that, but there are other players who are seeking to based ont deal more what happened that florida night. thatld note additionally the chairman of this committee, a moment ago, made a remarkable statement that to the effect
11:28am
that no one could reasonably believe that stand your ground laws protect those in the african-american communities who are victims of violent crimes. a remarkableis statement on many, many fronts, including the fact that a great many african-americans find themselves victims of violent crime and have asserted this defense to defend themselves, defend their families, defend their children. but i also find it remarkable because the assertion that no one reasonably could suggest this benefit the african- american community is drawn into remarkable relief when one keeps 2004 a statein senator in illinois i the name of barack obama cosponsored an expansion of illinois' law providing civil immunity for those who use justifiable force
11:29am
to defend themselves. so the notion that stand your ground laws are some form of veiled racism may be a convenient political attack, but it is not borne out by the fact remotely. secondly note the issue of alec, an organization that exists to encourage commonsense legislation in state legislatures. i like to enter into the record multiple letters submitted to me by organizations that are concerned about the targeting of alec in conjunction with this hearing. that it shoulde always be a concern when you see the united states senate targeting the exercise of free speech. this observation is not unique to me. 2013, the august 8,
11:30am
"chicago tribune" wrote an editorial that says free speech is not always free. against that right commerce and when senators have you on their enemies list, and it would be wrong for u.s. senator to use their law as a cudgel against their enemies, and i certainly hope that the senate hearing does not become an avenue to suppress free speech. a final point i would like to make. by its definition, the stand your ground law does not apply to aggressors. it explicitly excludes aggressors. theuld note, ms. mcbath, fact that you described that evening your son lost his life, the defense would not apply, would not even arguably apply. only, only,nse that
11:31am
only applies to those who are the victims of potential victims of other violent aggressors. only triggered when there is an imminent attack that could cause death or serious probably injury. so this is a doctrine that, by definition, does not apply to aggressors and only applies when serious bodily injury is at risk, so the question we have to ask, is, in a confrontation between a violent aggressor and a potential innocent victim, a potential innocent victim seeking to protect himself, herself, or her children, with whom do we stand? i for one believe we should stand with the innocent against
11:32am
aggressors. at is why the right to self- defense has been so critical for time immemorial. and i hope that we will not see the constitutional rights of sacrificedtizens because of political agendas. thank you. ask the patients of my colleague from connecticut, since the senator from texas has raised some personal issues. i'm going to respond to him. let me be very specific when i say this -- do not take my word for it. take the testimony of hillary shelton, in which he states, and it is part of this record, "hugo issues have caused as much angst and raise as many deeply held concerns among our members and the communities as stand your ground loss. these laws and applications have sadly resulted in no less than
11:33am
murder of people who were doing nothing more than walking down the street. the statement in the record by hillary shelton by naacp. this continuing reference by inflaming racial tensions, we have purchased over again, he have problems with the issues of race in america that we have to face squarely. and when people are being discriminated against, whoever, are ever in america, the subcommittee on the constitution civil rights, and human rights, is not going to back away. the second point i would like to make is this -- there are many victims when it comes to stand your ground laws. not one of them. i will concede that i ask those who will are publicly identified as supporters of this authorization if they support stand your ground loss. -- laws. respondedut of 140 said they supported it. i will not enter the name of these organizations in the record for the point that was
11:34am
made by the senator from texas. i do not want to establish a chilling effect on political participation, but it is reasonable to ask members of an weatherization if they agree ,ith that agenda and an agenda the agenda of a person who is the chairman of alec who says they no longer stand by. i will not enter any of these into the record, but isn't it no word that we have 140 relations affected. only one said they supported lec's agenda on stand your ground laws. that is a fact. >> i want to thank the chairman - r having this chairman -- this hearing. necessary hearing. it is important we face these issues of human rights, which hopefully are also matters of constitutional right.
11:35am
every one of thank the witnesses, all of you, for being here today, most especially ms. fulton, ms. mcbath, for your stories, and your firsthand experience, which is so profound for us, because we could have theoretical or rhetorical debates here, but what really matters is what happens to these doctrines of law in the streets, in the courtroom, when they are explained to juries. i say that as a prosecutor. prosecutors, my fellow prosecutors will often say to me that the most difficult prosecuting a in case was when the judge tried to explain the law to a jury. right? how do you explain stand your complex, the
11:36am
challenging, often emotionally charged time when a jury has to decide whether a person's liberty should be taken away and sometimes even a person's life as a result of the alleged commission of a serious crime? , mr. labahn,t say your testimony has social meeting to me, because your members of your associations are ones who take cases, this myriad of facts, sometimes confusing and contradictory, and try to present them to a judge or jury in a way that results in justice . and you used one word that i think is profoundly important -- "ambiguity or go stand your ground, as opposed to self-
11:37am
defense come even as i sit here, i wrestled with what the distinctions are in real life and how they are explained to juries, and that is why i agree that thetor durbin ambiguity of these doctrines can and encourage violence and confrontation. apparent approval that it may give to people who feel that they have been insulted and may aybehreatened -- m threatened, non-physically, verbally, can result in a hope of acquittal or non-conviction, theseereby encourage findings. maybe you can't speak to how in the courtroom this doctrine of stand your ground has a
11:38am
practical impact. >> thank you, senator, and here i am in front of not one former attorney generals, but actual two, so i will have to be good on my law, especially as you talk about the courtroom. itt this law does is place either as murder or nothing. somebody chooses to take an action and intentionally kills wither, and usually prosecutors, is it manslaughter, is it murder, is a first or second, are there special circumstances? when you put this both the perception and the immunity provisions in there you create a situation where it is difficult determination at the filing stage what kind of crime it is, and especially as relates to florida. your put into that box, either murder or nothing.
11:39am
secondly, there has been some discussion here about the aggressor, and i would like the committee to look at that chapter 776.41 of the four statute -- of the florida statute and why stand your ground and applied in the trayvon martin case and applied directly. 5.041 says use77 of force by aggressor, and they allow -- and the person reasonably believes, a subjective belief, by mr. zimmerman, that he was about in this danger, that therefore, justified his use of that force. this ghost correctly to what one of the jurors said, the jurors did, as you talked about the courtroom. the jurors followed the law. the law said you could use that reasonable force under the florida state your ground if you believe that you are reasonably in that imminent threat. ,es, it is incredibly difficult and the ambiguity is never good.
11:40am
the other tests we use with ambiguity the is how many appellate decisions come out of a particular statute. all of you know how many past, howstatutes get many end up in appeal, and get reversed. save your ground is one of the most appealed, especially as it relates to the homicide cases. ambiguityy i say the is incredibly apparent, and just look at nexus if you want to see all the ways that has been appealed. >> in your experience, mr. labahn, do members of your organization overwhelmingly share your view? >> they do, and that is why point to the statement of principles. also, the difference between the legislative branch as well as the executive branch. my members are the executive branch. once the legislature steps forward as is the law, we can do everything we can to seek justice in those cases, just like what occurred in florida. even with that opposition, they are there and enforcement.
11:41am
>> in your experience, do the overwhelming majority of police officers shared this view? >> again, the officers that i am working at, yes, they are very sincere, and that is what i talked about justify killing an officer. indiana flip sat around and basically encourages, if you policy, topublic' take an officer's life unless you believe that the officer was following their scope of employment. that is craziness. >> police officers feel these laws may represent a threat to them? them.h a threat to they might be serving a search warrant, plainclothes, not in uniform, and i believe in the georgia case that is strictly on point with that one, that the requirement that there be actual knowledge instead of an officer doing a job. that is a problem for police officers. officers do not know what to do
11:42am
when you have a statute that says you cannot arrest, yet you are supposed to investigate. what does that mean? >> you say, well, in your testimony, when you say prosecutors and i am quoting, prosecutors, whose officers, and ordinary citizens are left to guess at what is legal. >> there should not be ambiguity in something like murder, senator. >> thank you. thank you, senator durbin. >> one of the observations about this whole debate is how diverse the state seems to be in arriving at the same conclusion, where you have michigan, obata, new hampshire, pennsylvania with standard ground laws and you have a lot of southern states where i guess the point i'm trying to make is it seems to be democrats and republicans,
11:43am
depending on what state you're from, seem to embrace these laws -- eight democratic governors have signed into law state your ground laws. it seems to be a pretty diverse mix of views about whether or not this is good public policy. federalivan, from the point of view, there are remedies available to the federal government if there has been an injustice at the state level. is that correct? like in any case, the trayvon intin case, the case here illinois, the justice department could, if they chose, pursue federal actions. is that correct? >> absolutely. >> you agree with attorney holder's decision not to pursue a federal civil rights case in the trayvon martin -- standardbased on the
11:44am
that needs to be satisfied in order to move forward with a case like that. the federal government would have to demonstrate that at the encounter -- pilot of the violent encounter, mr. zimmerman and behaved as he did as a function of racial animus, and i am not sure that the -- there is sufficient evidence there for the federal permit to go forward. i tend to agree with that case, and also on a more prudential basis, that the header government should be cautious in exercising discretion in going in going in and upsetting a state verdict. >> [indiscernible] >> you have enhanced my recordation, senator. reasonink that is a
11:45am
view, because i know there is a lot of pressure being applied to the attorney general, and quite frankly, the president, and we are talking about trying cases in political arenas is probably not a good idea, but having victims speak up, having mothers speak about losing their children, that is very appropriate, and i hope we will listen and learn where we can. if you were defending a case like the trayvon martin case, would you have done similar things as to defense? >> can you be lit a little more specific? >> was there anything unethical about that defense? >> i will not charge a fellow lawyer with unethical behavior without knowing more. i was deeply troubled by the as aature of trayvon personification of a stereotype.
11:46am
trayvon martin as a thug, trayvon martin as criminal. i was deeply troubled i that overlay over the criminal justice system. whether that violated florida's professional rules of conduct, i do not know. i have not studied them within the detail to make that sort of claim. done. would not have i will say -- >> have you ever defended a person accused of rape? >> personally? >> yes. >> i have. >> have you ever questioned a victim? >> i have. ms. fulton -- son was aton, your fine young man, but i have been a defense lawyer, and that person expects you to vigorously defend the interests of a client. that is why we have rape shield laws. we are trying to get that
11:47am
allen's between how far can you -- that allen's how far you can balance between how far you can do in protecting the rights of the victims, and in terms of the racial implications arehat case i think they raw and obvious, but it seems to me from an objective point of view that stand your ground laws well, mostly -- violent crime is in with the community itself. is that correct? >> that is exactly right. >> i'm trying to come to grips somehow with the idea that this law has a racial injustice about it. do you think it does, mr. sullivan? >> i think the way -- the impact of the law has a disparaged racial tilt, and that troubles me profoundly.
11:48am
that stand your ground was used in this particular case, if i could just amend what senator cruz said, is not entirely correct to say that standard ground was not part of this case. this zimmerman did not avail himself of the minority the portion of standard ground. however, the judge construct -- instructed, consistent with florida law, that included and expressed statement a stand your loss, if you feel your in fear of death, then mistress merman had a right to "stand your ground and use deadly force in response." i may have cited it in my written testimony to the chair, the specific jury instructions. stand your ground was point and center in the case, just not the immunity portion. politician's point of view, when you have people like
11:49am
governor granholm and joe manchin, i do not believe in their mind the time they signed these laws that they felt that they were they were doing. can you understand how somebody would come to a different conclusion? >> of course, and i do not mean to claim that legislatures sat down and said let's see how we can prejudice minorities in writing these laws. sometimes, because this is a human enterprise, juries are human beings, injuries. baggage that this country has some time, the laws express themselves in various sorts of ways. in terms of the specifics, i spent a lot of time and have board your staff census in terms of reading the statistical analysis there. friend, youpect my ask 10 economists questions, you get 11 different responses in
11:50am
terms of what the data means. there is a lot of noise, i will say. there is a lot of noise in the data. likeyou do see examples of jordan and trayvon, my only point to this committee and to the american public is that those are individuals. they are not data points. they are not statistics. they were living and breathing citizens, whom we should care about. and to the degree that the law produces perverse results, and i submit to you that this result with martin, trayvon martin, was perverse, we do not know what is going to happen in the mcbath c ase, to the degree is a possibility it is something we should look at. >> i guess the point about the trials having been in court a few times, if you believed that that mr.man --
11:51am
martin was on top of mr. zimmerman and inflicting punishment, that would be a different view. if you believe he was just walking to get candy and a soda, which he obviously was, you wonder how could somebody be dead because of that. and this is so, located. and the one thing i do not want us to do as politicians is to take away the ability of when assuree of court, to yourself of a lawful defense, the question becomes have become too far> >> thank you for allowing me, because that is what i wanted to present. there has been a lot of discussion about justice harlan's case, and that is clearly an objective standard. if you look and you say in a way, and with such force, as under all circumstances, yet the moment honestly believed and had reasonable grounds to believe for necessary to save his own
11:52am
life and protect himself from great bodily injury, that is exactly the problem. this white has been such prosecutor opposition to this sort of direction. the florida law -- and we stand by the verdict. as you said, there's a disappointment that happens incurred -- in court. based on the law, as they drafted it, there is a subjective belief. what did he believed at the time it beingrring versus objective. in 2007, when i was a director of a research institute, we published a piece on the castle doctrine. we were concerned about the racial implications because when you go to what that person believes and when you have such a heterogeneous population, you do not know what that person believes about another individual, especially by their skin, age, whatever that might
11:53am
be, because it is objective, and allows them to believe they are under danger and hence to the dramatic thing of taking a life. thank you for letting me -- >> i would like to make a couple comments. data, look at the the tampa bay tribune data there, account for the different factors in the cases, you found that minorities, both blacks and hispanics, are much more successful in raising stage or ground defenses than whites are. another point that needs to be made is the ambiguity. -- type of and be good the one type of anti-good the -- one type of ambiguity has been the discussed. the issue here might be who do we want to have to make do do with that ambiguity? when somebody is facing court
11:54am
decisions that have to make in terms of life and death, do we want to make them have to bear the burden to try to figure out at that time how far they are going to have to retreat? and then make them realize they may be second-guessed. i have an appendix that shows the number of cases where they were second-guessed in terms of legislatures thinking it was wrong, to make somebody act in self-defense and stop them from doing so and endanger the safety of themselves or their family members. when he was labahn, talking about being able to go and have a stand your ground law apply even though he may have been the initial aggressor there, he missed part of a law that he quoted, because it goes onto say you can use it, but then it puts very strict churches on how you can use it in that case. it says stand your ground is not available to persons who
11:55am
initially invokes force himself unless he or she exhausts every reasonable means to escape, such as danger other than the use of force, which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to be a fit to -- to the assailant, or the person withdraws or physical contact that the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force. the bottom line understand your ground is someone initially provokes someone else, then they are required to retreat. i want to thank this panel for the testimony, and once again, thank ms. fulton and ms. mcbath. thank you for coming and reliving some very painful we can put this hearing into context. i think all the witnesses for this testimony. it has been a great deal of interest in today's hearing, as
11:56am
you can see from the attendance. a number of organizations have submitted testimony, including nurses as american ossetia, the center for media and democracy, america's essential hospitals, the illinois council against handgun newtown action alliance, moms demand action, and many more. they will all be included in the record without objection. i would also like to say when solicitation was sent out for those members, publicly listed members of alec to tell me their position on this, altering, if they wished information, some asked that their statements the a part of the world record, -- part of the record, and they will. i do not want to create any chilly effect on participation in american politics. it is important we preserve all
11:57am
of our constitutional rights to do so. i thought it was appropriate to find out if the members of the organizations stood by that policy position that was stated. the hearing record will be open for one week to accept additional statements. written questions for the witnesses must also be closed -- submitted by close of business by the end of the day. if there are no further comments from the panel or my colleagues, i think the witnesses for attending, and my colleagues for purchase of heading. here he stands adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
11:58am
11:59am
>> you can watch all this
12:00pm
hearing later, also in our video library at www.c-span.org. u.s. house is gaveling in next for legislative work is afternoon. a handful of bills, including two measures doing with the authority of the labor department. the speaker: the house will be in order. the prayer will be offered today by our guest chaplain, reverend jack gibbs, calvary hills church, chino, california. the chaplain: shall we pray. almighty god and father, if it be your will that we be revised as a nation, hear my prayer. i ask that you to make us a thankful people, that we would bless you, the author of abundant mercies, enable us to display a gratitude for all your goodness by endeavoring to fear and obey you. bless us with your wisdom in thisou